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A sad day of anger

January 27, 2021 1:52 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

mo27 (Photo by David Vázquez on Unsplash)Back on 6 May 1978 much of Suffolk decamped to the old Wembley stadium to watch Ipswich Town win the FA Cup in front of a full house of 100000. It was a joyous day

Yesterdays announcement that that at least that same number of people had died from covid was absolutely terrible. Its hard to grasp the scale of the devastation. So many lives lost, so many families grieving. What is equally shocking to our mind is that this waste of life seems to be accepted. You would expect real anger at what has been an enormous failure of policy but if its there it seems well hidden if opinion polls are to be believed

The UK is one of the worlds richest countries blessed by a universal health service. And yet the latest figures collated by Worldometer see Coronavirus Update (Live): 100,922,270 Cases and 2,169,466 Deaths from COVID-19 Virus Pandemic - Worldometer (worldometers.info) show that whilst we rate 25th by cases per head ( most above us are small countries) we are 6th in the whole world by deaths. We even sit above the USA where the incoming Biden administration have said they have failed to find any coherent plans to control the virus see Trump's COVID Plan? Biden Can't Find One (ibtimes.com)

Years of Conservative austerity has left our health service underfunded and short-staffed but the high number of deaths hide issues which say much about the society we live in

  • Over a quarter of deaths are in care homes where Matt Hancock's promised ring of steel around them dissolved as 25000 untested people were sent back to homes from hospitals early in the infection. The failures of adequate social care have been known for years and nothing done about it. We have let down our older generation
  • Members of the BAME Community are twice as likely to die from covid as their white fellow countrymen. The employment rate for people from BAME backgrounds slumped 5.3% in the year to September 2020, compared with a 0.2% decrease in the number of employed white workers.
  • Poorer communities with disproportionate numbers doing essential jobs and unable to work from home are also twice as likely to die from the disease see Covid 19 death rates UK deprivation | Poverty and Social Exclusion

Yesterday Boris Johnson has insisted his government "did everything we could" to limit coronavirus deaths and said he was "deeply sorry" after the UK toll exceeded 100,000 The facts seem to challenge that statement. No government confronted by the pandemic could be expected to get everything right but the list of failures is pretty long and damning.

  • Shortages of PPE in wave 1
  • lack of protection for care homes
  • A test and trace system that is a long way from world class
  • Continued delays in making decisions to lock-down
  • Confused and ever changing rules
  • Failure to sack Dominic Cummings which undermined belief in the rules
  • Wasting the summer eating out to help out rather than suppressing the virus. In August you will recall we were told to go back to the workplace
  • Failure of tier system to reduce infections
  • Delays of a year in closing our borders

Last Autumn Ed Davey got Mr Johnson to agree that a national enquiry was required. There are still no plans to have one. Whilst the UK seems to be ahead of the curve on vaccinations we cannot assume that in a few weeks all will be well. There is always the risk of a mutation which defeats the vaccine to consider and we need plans in place to mitigate that risk

We owe it to all we have lost to learn lessons quickly. Our Prime Minister has said he accepts personal responsibility for the losses as head of the government. Fine words which are easy to say. If he really takes responsibility then change direction. Learn the lessons, follow the science.

We are grieving and we are angry. We want to see action to stop the same mistakes being made in the future